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Robert James Heidt Gonzales

April 13, 1939 ~ July 31, 2020 (age 81)

Tribute

Robert James H. Gonzales, age 81 of Burke, VA passed away July 31, 2020 peacefully at his home.  He died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis surrounded by his loving wife and daughter.

Bob was born in Manila, Philippines in April 1939 to Victorino and Mary Gonzales.  He graduated as Salutatorian from Union High School of Manila, Class of 1955.  He then earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the Polytechnic Colleges of the Philippines and graduated Magna Cum Laude.  He was named by the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers as the “Most Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Graduate of 1960.”  He was a recipient of several scholarships including one from the Philippine Association of Mechanical and Electrical Engineers (PAMEE) and the Arcadio Floro Memorial Scholarship.  His first job after college was working as a Project Engineer for Proctor and Gamble in Manila.

Later he earned an MBA from the University of the Philippines.  Upon graduation, he was immediately hired to teach a graduate-level course in Marketing at UP.  Later he also taught at Ateneo University, a prestigious Catholic university in Manila.

After immigrating to the United States in 1970, he went on to earn two additional Master’s degrees in lnternational Business from UCLA and Controllership from St. John's University in NY.  In 1976, Bob and his family gratefully became naturalized US citizens in celebration of the bicentennial.  Bob worked most of his life as an executive in the oil business working for Caltex in the Philippines and Mobil Oil in California, New York, Virginia, and Texas, USA.  He regularly received AB job ratings at Mobil, meaning “Among the Best” and was provided 2 certificates of recognition for Outstanding Job Performance.  He retired in 1996 from Mobil Oil Corporation after the most enjoyable six years of his career as an International Marine Fuel Coordinator.  He took an early retirement package that would allow a co-employee who was being laid off to receive his job and continue a career at Mobil so that Bob could spend more time with his wife and family.

Bob married the love of his life, Wency Gonzales in April 1961.  They were married for 59 years and shared the love of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to many.  They taught Sunday School together for decades and they sang in the choir at all the churches they attended after Bob’s heart attack.  Their most important and notable legacy is encouraging learning and education for young people by supporting the children of hundreds of clergy through their Philippine scholarship funds.  They financed scholarships for students to become pastors, nurses, and computer specialists.  They continue to help underprivileged children in a Philippine province by providing education and meals to encourage pre-schoolers to want to go to school.

While Bob was a Mobil Oil executive, he had many hobbies and activities that he enjoyed and shared with those around him.  He enjoyed music and liked to compose and sing songs.  He acted and participated in the drama presentations at Lord of Life Lutheran Church of “Broadway Hit Review”, “1776” and “A Christmas Carol”.  Bob was a master of creating unique lyrics to well-known songs to honor the special occasions of loved ones including new lyrics to “Borning Cry” for his grandchildren’s baptisms.  He wrote many poems for his beloved wife Wency, as well as for countless friends and family.  He also painted beautiful landscapes on canvas and made personalized t-shirts for family and friends. He loved taking care of God’s creation by encouraging others and gardening.  He tutored students in math and science in Virginia.  He also taught part-time as a substitute teacher for Fairfax County Schools after he retired from Mobil Oil.  He is a direct descendent of CPT Spence Monroe Grayson, a chaplain for General George Washington during the American Revolution.

Bob is survived by his loving wife, Wenceta Rose L.S. Gonzales, daughter Roceta Jo Gonzales of Burke, VA; son, Robert Gonzales Jr. & wife Stephanie and three grandchildren, Matthew, Julia & Michael of Highland, MD; and son, Jonathan Gonzales & wife Angelita; a half-brother, Rolly, and wife Pros Gonzales of San Francisco, California.  He was preceded in death by his parents and 9 siblings.

The family is grateful for the condolences and in lieu of flowers, we kindly request memorial donations to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 7607 Old Sandy Spring Road, Laurel, MD 20707 in the name of Robert H. Gonzales, Sr. Donations will be used to help educate children in the Philippines.  Due to the current pandemic, we are still prayerfully considering a later date for a loving memorial service at our church.


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